Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Where the Summer Readers Go Wild and Then Head Straight Back to Their Four Months (Or More!) of Vacation.

Oh my goodness. Yesterday's insanity really got the summer readers stirred up. It was a big night at the compound and we've sorted through more than 140 emails (some very long!) to bring you these quick clips. We've saved a couple of the longer pieces to post later in the week. As our European colleague says, "Please to enjoy":

  • With exemplary students like you filling classroom chairs -- and then, after vacating those chairs, gumming up message boards, blogs and anywhere you can air your groundless, ill-informed opinions in order to satisfy your rampant insecurity -- why dodo you even have to wonder why we're unhappy with our jobs? Friend, you are part of the problem. Once you get over feeling chuffed about that C- and look past your own ego, you might see that we're not so bad, and we might even have something to teach you. That's a hard pill for you to swallow, I realize, as you're so used to being the smartest guy in the chatroom. But those of us who've spent a lot of time not only studying a subject but teaching it too might be able to offer you new ideas and perspectives on the world that you -- no really -- wouldn't be able to find in your own puttering about on the internet. Why wouldn't you choose to "learn?"

  • Go ahead and think I am stooping to a “low height” with this response but no other post has made me feel so strongly about writing in. Ever heard the cliché ‘If you can read this, thank a teacher’? Some of us ARE good enough. You are, in your own very angry way, proof of that. But you made me laugh, and I do appreciate that. So here’s a little unsolicited advice. I can’t speak for everyone else who frequents this site, but I don’t hate my job. I occasionally hate the attitudes and actions of SOME of my students and coworkers. But I love to teach. There’s a pretty big difference. I think if you read more of the posts carefully, you will find more frustration than hatred. And I really hope you DO care more about your education than I do. I can’t care about the education of all 250 of my students. I can care that I am teaching them the material they need to know and that I am doing it well. I can care that I am doing what I can in the classroom and am there within reason for anyone who needs extra help outside of the classroom. But I can’t actually care about the education of everyone who passes through every single semester. I would hope that as adults, they could understand and deal with that. If a student needs someone to care about their education more than they themselves do, they should move back home with mom and dad. They’ll care.

  • Since you're so ignorant as to the politics of the Academy, you don't know that professors earned their degrees to become SCHOLARS not teachers. As scholars, we all knew teaching was part of the package. But, dumbass idiots like you NEVER get that. Dude, you're just a means to an end. I know being the center of the universe is all you're used to, little snowflake, but it's not how Academe works.

  • Professors only work 8 months out of the year? Are you on crack? Oh no, that's right. You think our only job is to teach you, right? Guess what, snowflake, most professors work under an old maxim: "publish or perish." That means they work CONSTANTLY just to do that unnecessary research so that they don't lose tenure and are forced out of their jobs. You see, it's a relatively rare college campus where a professor's sole duty is to teach. But you seem completely ignorant of that fact. And it is a fact. That's why most professors work 60+ hours every week prepping for class, teaching, grading, serving on University committees, editing journals, and conducting research and writing books and journal articles. It's what they are PAID TO DO. Did you know that some professors actually pay themselves by getting grant money for the University? Did you? Bet you didn't. You think things in the Academy work like in the "real world" [as if the University isn't as real as any other job]. Most other workers have a 9-to-5 job, perhaps with some over-time, with extended paid vacations. Yeah, you know those "summers off" most professors have? They're usually spent catching up with family [who get ignored the rest of the year], and furiously researching, writing and doing course prep. Oh sure, some take time off for a month or two, which is well-deserved and necessary after trying to teach students like you for the previous months. How dare they take a vacation!

  • You can gain knowledge by reading books, but you don't necessarily become educated. Being educated is not just about gaining knowledge; it's about gaining knowledge along with skills [usually analytical skills] within a structured framework with the result being some sort of social affirmation of that knowledge-skill acquisition [your degree]. Just going and reading a web-site does not make you smarter, nor does it make you informed. Being able to evaluate different knowledge bases DOES make you educated [and smart too]. Therefore, understanding why Wikipedia is not the be-all, end-all makes you smarter than being able to comprehend a single article there. Knowing the limitations and agenda of CNN [and other news outlets] does too. I doubt you understand this difference. I suspect, for you, all knowledge is the same. To me [and many other educated people] that just signifies you as dumb [and uneducated]. So, go read your books and websites. That won't make you educated, nor will you earn that social affirmation called a degree.